Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority
The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA was one of 23 SETAs that were established in terms of the Skills Development Act passed by the South African Parliament in 1998. It began functioning in 2000 and continues to do so.
Like all other SETAs that were established at this time, the MerSETA, as it became known, was to play a central role in terms of ensuring that the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) of South Africa was fulfilled.
The sub-sector traditionally covered by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA
The MerSETA was set up initially to facilitate skills development, education and training in the following areas:
- metal and engineering
- auto manufacturing
- motor retail and component manufacturing
- tyre manufacturing
- the plastics industries
Together, these five sub-sectors are represented by around 44 000 companies which, at the time the MerSETA was established in 2000, had a workforce of around 600 000 people.
The total levy income for this sector at the time was estimated to be R600 000-million.
How the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA is set to change
Although the removal of the motor and petrol retail sub-sectors from the MerSETA may appear to be a minor change, the MerSETA landscape changes quite radically with the extraction of both these critical sub-sectors. They will be moved to the Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&RSETA) which was only established and accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in 2001.
This is an interesting development since the initial W&RSETA was seen as one of the lesser SETAs in the beginning. However in the past decade, it has become what it describes “one of the leading SETAs in the implementation of the National Skills Development Strategy”.
Nevertheless the MerSETA will continue to facilitate the develop of skills relating to the motor (or auto) industry and will play a pivotal role in the general engineering sector, particularly in relation to the full spectrum of manufacturing.
Discretionary grants and levies
Whilst some SETAs have collected levies since their formation in 2000, the MerSETA has traditionally received levies that were collected by the South African Department of Labour. Of these, 70% of the levies collected by the Department have been disbursed as grants, while according to the SETA, 10% were kept for the purposes of paying for administration.
Generally funding of SETAs is from skills development levies paid by employers in the sector. Funding also comes from the Government’s National Skills Fund as well as various discretionary grants and donations. Where investments are made, this money is also used for funding, as is any money that is charged for in terms of services the SETA may provide.
The MerSETA’s role in terms of education and training
Like most South African SETAs, the existing MerSETA doesn’t train learners, but rather facilitates the process that enables them to train. This includes specifically:
- paying discretionary grants to enable learners to gain training
- registering moderators and assessors who ensure that the level of education is up to standard required
- identifying skills that are needed in the industry, particularly those that are scarce
- accrediting training providers so that those institutions and organisations offering college courses, and any other type of short course, management course and so on, is up to standard
- monitoring the quality of training within this particular sector
- implementing projects that will help to close the skills gap as quickly as possible
Where to find the MerSETA
The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA is based in Gauteng, in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Telephone: (011) 544-1316
Fax: (011) 484-8620